The YA (Summer) Reading List

I have been slacking on the “Reading” section of this blog.  I have been reading plenty of books, I just haven’t had the time to sit down and review them.  And some, I feel as if writing a review would be pointless because they are older.  I found this infographic “flow-chart” of Young Adult Fiction.  I know that summer is technically over, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are some really great books on this chart.

Looking for something to read?  Find exactly what you want right here… I have read 20+ books from this chart; there are definitely some REALLY really good choices!  (The Mystery/Thriller and the Utopia/Dystopia picks are all great ones.  But I’m being biased, those are my favorite genres.)

The Young Adult Summer Reading Flowchart

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Have you read any of these books?

What’s your favorite genre?

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The August Run-Down

I’m trying out a new post for the blog… If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.  Guess I’ll post and find out.

I know most of you are reading my blog because I run.  And I love that.  While running is a very large portion of my life, there is a lot more that goes into my everyday.  If you’re investing your time by reading my blog, wouldn’t you want to know more about the person whose doing all that running?  What about the time that I’m not running?  The monthly Run-Down will give you a little taste of my other interests, although I’m sure running will be involved as it does take up a large amount of my time.  Check out this month’s Run-Down of things I’m loving, wanting, wearing, activities I’m doing, books I’m reading, etc. and you’ll see… maybe you’ll find something that interests you.

AUGUST

August
1.  Compression Running Shorts.  Seriously, one of the best inventions ever.  I love the regular running shorts, but these things literally feel like I have nothing on.  No fabric is moving, nothing is getting caught on branches, and they’re just plain comfortable. End of story. Target has them for $14.00 as of 8/10/13.

 

2.  The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey.  Next book on my reading list.  I plan on starting and finishing it at the beach this week.  This book fits right into my favorite genre; I have a weird thing for dystopias.  I love reading people’s own creative ideas about how the world could end up or what it’s like in an alternate universe… For the alternate universe side of things, check out the book Crewel by Gennifer Albin.

 

3.  Je dois pratiquer mon français.  I took four semesters of French in college and while I can still read it and for the most part understand, speaking the language and listening to the language have all but left me.  I used to be able to have full conversations with my professor and classmates and write 3 page essays in decent French.  I don’t want to lose what I already have so I plan to start listening to “Learn French” books on tape in my car.  Bonne chance à moi!

 

4.  WEI to Go Ideal Skin Perfect Finish CC CreamBest tinted moisturizer I’ve tried.  I found this product last fall and am still convinced it’s the best thing out there.  I have very sensitive skin and this didn’t cause any irritation or break-outs.  It’s light and it isn’t cakey like most foundations.  In fact, this isn’t a foundation, but it’s what I use instead of foundation.  I think the coverage is just enough.  It doesn’t look like you’re wearing makeup, but if you have a spot here or there, it still covers nicely.  Perfect for the hot summer months.

 

5.  Skeleton print.  Call me creepy, but I’m just really into bones lately.  I really want a skeleton print something, shirt, tank, or hey, how cool would skeleton compression pants be?  Especially for fall races!  And not skull and crossbones.  I want legit skeleton bones.  Ask me why and I couldn’t tell you.  My brain just likes it.  Who knows?!

 

6.  Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee.  I have officially been bitten by the fall bug.  I was getting coffee at WaWa this morning on my way to work and I overheard the employees talking about what they were getting in next week… I had to ask about the Pumpkin Spice, it’s my favorite.  AUGUST 18th!!! For anybody who has a WaWa locally, just know that they will be starting to serve their much loved Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee on Sunday, August 18.  These people better not have been pulling my leg.  You better believe that I will be there on Sunday morning ready for my coffee. It’s the day I get back from vacation and what a way to be welcomed home!

 

7.  VACATION!  Heading to my home away from home, Hatteras, NC, in the Outer Banks tomorrow evening for a much needed week away.  I am like a kid on Christmas morning right now.  I may have the best long run ever tomorrow morning due to my anxiety to get down there!  I live by the beach already, but going away to the beach just has a different appeal… probably because work is not involved whatsoever.  Can’t wait to take some runs on the beach and through the beach neighborhoods.

 

8.  Drawing/Painting.  If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I am part reader, part runner, and part artist/art lover.  This past year has been so packed with training and graduating and applying to grad school that I have had zero time to let my creative juices flow. I have an awful itch and I plan to scratch it. Ehh, so what?  I’m cheesy sometimes.
Want to see some of my art? 12345

 

9.  Lana del Rey.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be tired of hearing her music.  I’ve been listening since Born to Die came out and I bought the Great Gatsby CD as soon as I saw that she and Florence & the Machine had songs on it.  Recently audiobooks have been taking over my car radio and I finally finished the pile in my car.  I instantly grabbed for my Lana del Rey CDs.  Seriously, the girl can sing.  She’s otherworldly, from a different era, and her songs and music videos definitely reinforce that.

What are some of your favorite things this month?

Any new discoveries?  Products, books, music, anything?  Tell me in a comment!

Let me know what you think of this kind of monthly post!

Old School Blogging – The ABC’s

So I think these “Old School Blogging” posts are fun.  They make for a nice quick post when I’m short for time and they make for light weekend reading scanning… Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple days, I have been busy at work and have had a weird schedule of runs this week.  Speaking of weird runs this week, I added some track/speedwork on Friday morning and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’ll tell you more about it on my weekly marathon training update tomorrow.  But for now, here ya go…

A. Attached or Single?

Attached.

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B. Best Friend?

My mom and sister

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C. Cake or Pie?

Cake 100%.  Yellow with chocolate frosting or Ice Cream cake or cookie cake or Funfetti cake… you get the gist…

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I even like to decorate them.

D. Day of Choice?

Fridays, unless I’m working.  I like Friday evenings the best.

E. Essential Item?

A book and coffee

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F. Favorite Color?

Oddly enough, black.  (I know depressing… it’s just so classy).  Real colors though, cerulean blue or yellow.

G. Gummy Bears or Worms?

Sour gummy worms.  Sour Patch Kids are the best though, especially the yellow ones.

H. Home Town?

Somewhere in the Hampton Roads area of VA.

I. Favorite Indulgence?

oh, there are so many…

Doritos

Caramel Macchiatos

Shopping

New running shoes/tanks/shorts/magazines

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True Blood

French Fries

J. January or July?

For running purposes, January. Otherwise, July.

K. Kids?

Not yet.  Sometime in the future though.

L. Life Isn’t Complete Without?

vacations.  coffee dates.  barnes & noble.  running.  cheetah print.  cold stone.

coldstone-creamery-birthday-remix

ahhh Birthday Cake Remix, greatest ice cream creation ever.

M. Marriage Date?

Ask Trae…

N. Number of Brothers/Sisters?

One little sister, Tess

lilsis

O. Oranges or Apples?

Apples! Red Delicious, please.

P. Phobias?

After being bitten, definitely spiders.  Ugh that was an awful experience.

Q. Quotes

Oh there are quite a few…

“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living.” – Anais Nin

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“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will no be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared.” – Buddha

“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying?  If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”  – Shantideva  (I mostly like this one because it’s a reminder to myself.  I am the biggest worrier on the planet.)

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”  – H. Ford

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R. Reasons to Smile?

I woke up this morning in a warm comfortable bed and had multiple choices of breakfast food.  I had clean water to take a shower and someone who loves me who kissed me goodbye.  I had a car to drive and a job to go to.  I had money to buy  lunch.  I have plans tonight with my mom and sister.  I am able to get up and run 13 miles tomorrow morning on strong legs.  I have books to read, a blog to write, and blank canvases to paint.  How can I not find a reason to smile today?

S. Season of Choice?

Being in Virginia, I am able to experience each of them, which is so nice.  If you get tired of the cold, summer’s are definitely hot and vice versa.  I love the feeling of fall.  I am one of the crazies who actually looked forward to school starting.  I love scarves and boots and jeans and football.  The time that spans from Thanksgiving until Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  Winter is nice because I love my peacoats and chili is delicious.  Spring is amazing because my birthday is in April.  And I love summer thanks to beach/pool days and sunshine.  If I had to choose one to live in forever I guess it would be Fall.

T. Tag People:

Kristen @ Medium Roast

Ashley @ Miles on Oats

Jenn @ runnderlust

Emily @ Beauty and the Greek

U. Unknown Facts About Me?

My brain thinks I’m 5 years older than I really am.

I’d love to own my own coffee shop/art space one day; it would have a “bookish-art” name and serve drinks with names like the Hemingway au lait and Latte Leonardo.  (…so cheesy)

Leonardo-Da-Vinci-The-Man-Behind-The-Shroud

I have a goal of visiting all of the museums on this list (I can cross two off this list) and visiting all of the libraries on this list.

I’m a Starbucks snob… Grande Café Misto, non-fat, 2 pumps sugar-free hazelnut syrup and 2 pumps sugar-free vanilla syrup, please and thank you 🙂  or on a hot day, Venti Iced Black/Green tea, 3 pumps classic syrup, 3 pumps peppermint syrup.

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Venti Iced Green Tea, half classic, half peppermint. So refreshing.

V. Vegetable?

Cucumbers and red peppers.

W. Worst Habit?

I am the worst about putting laundry away x 1,458,607,079.  The clean laundry usually ends up right back on top of the dirty clothes.  I mostly hate hanging things in the closet.

X. Xray or Ultrasound?

Uhh… X-rays equal broken bones to me so ultrasounds seem like the better trip to the doctor.

I’ve had two broken toes and one broken finger.

Y. Your favorite food?

Hmmm. Depends on my mood.  I can always go for mom’s Salsa Chicken tacos though.  And dirty rice with ground turkey.

Z. Zodiac Sign?

Aries

(painting below I did based on my zodiac sign back in 2009)

aries

Aries, acrylic on Bristol, 2009

Your turn!  Pick a letter and tell me something about you in the comment section.

Or Copy and paste the ABC’s and write your own fun post!

Of Love & Running…

Looking for books to add to my never-ending, 50 million page long list of books I need/want to read, I found Born to Run:  A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.  I like to read quotes from non-fiction books before I decide to read them, mostly because I want to share an opinion with the author.  This quote is one I found from the author, Christopher McDougall and it really struck me as true…

born-to-run-cover

“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got, being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…We wouldn’t be alive without love, we wouldn’t have survived without running, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”

― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

I think the author is on to something.  In order to enjoy running you definitely have to be patient.  In order to increase your stamina, your distance, your pace, you have to be patient in achieving those goals.  They won’t be conquered overnight or over the weekend, it requires a gradual build.  It also requires forgiveness on bad days.  It’s okay to have an off day, don’t beat yourself up about it.  We all have them.

There’s a fine line between pushing yourself and demanding.  Running shouldn’t be something you loathe doing.  If it is, it’s time to take a break.  You also have to be okay with the abilities you have.  I would love to run a sub-7:30 pace, but right now it’s not all that fathomable, and I’m okay with that.  I am perfectly happy with my 10:30 – 9:30 min pace.  If I somehow find myself faster, then by all means, I’ll be faster.  Striving to be better is one thing, getting angry that I’m not there yet is another.

Running has also given me another “thing” to call my own.  It let’s me get away for an hour or two at a time.  It allows me to have my own life outside of my relationship with Trae, with my own friends, events, and experiences.  Trae’s “thing” is golf.  While I accompany him on special occasions, this is his time to be by himself.  We need these separate hobbies so that we appreciate being together more.  It gives us something to talk about, something to learn from each other and we can root each other on.  Running helps me appreciate everything I have and can do.  It helps me think, it challenges me, and I love it all the more for that.

What are your thoughts on the quote?  Is there another quote that hits closer to home for your relationship with running?

Do you think these qualities (patience, forgiveness, appreciation) are that of most runners?

What do you love about running?

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, next book to read

 

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami, 2009 (original copy pub. 2007)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by:  Haruki Murakami (2007)

Best-selling Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is also a runner.  He has run both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon multiple times as well as a handful of triathlons.  He is an experienced runner to say the least.

I have to admit, this book was unknownst to me until just recently.  As both avid reader and runner, I am almost ashamed to willingly announce this.  Oh well.  Better late than never.  I work in a library so I am constantly surrounded by books.  I walk through the shelves and put books away multiple times during the work day.  Sometimes I take a few extra minutes to browse the aisles for anything that might jump out at me.  While shelving books in the 790s (sports, games, entertainment), I stumbled upon Murakami’s running memoir.  I stashed it on the cart to take home.

I haven’t had the chance to start reading it, but I did flip through and find some quotes that reiterated the fact that this was a book I needed to read.  The first quote stood out because it’s the mentality I have towards running and until reading it, I couldn’t find the right words to “explain” running to people who don’t get why I do it.  The part about goals is what really stuck with me.  I hold very high standards for myself, I don’t settle for less, and I’m determined to meet the goals I make, like running my first half (check) and running a marathon this fall (in progress).  Goals help me to keep pushing myself and never settle for mediocre.  Maybe this sounds extreme (I’m really not that serious).  What I’m trying to get at is I don’t settle and I don’t set limitations for what I can do.

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree.”  

I could really relate to the second quote because I share this type B personality… I completely understand what he’s talking about.  Solitude shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, there are those who enjoy it.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful  to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.”  

I figured this would be a really good book, the author being both writer and runner, two things I obviously enjoy, and sharing personality characteristics as well as thoughts on running and why we do it.  I will definitely be writing a review on this book once I’ve finished it.  So keep an eye out.

Have you read this book?  Are there any other NEED TO READ books by runners, about runners, etc.?  Share your thoughts and comments below!!!

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Goals for the Coming Months

I started this blog in order to track my training for both marathon and 50k; both are goals I hope to achieve in the coming six months. I have found that keeping up with posting has made me feel more accountable. It helps motivate me to push through the tough runs and the mornings I don’t want to get up for a long run. Based on the stats of my blog, I can see how many people are viewing my posts. Whether you’re actually reading the entire post is a whole different story, regardless, there are people like you who are actually reading it. So, thank you.

The fact that there are people besides my boyfriend, my family, or my friends, who will know when I’ve been slacking or if I fail to meet goals makes me more dedicated to fulfilling them. I already consider myself a motivated person, this just really intensifies it and makes the goals that much more important to reach. I have people counting on me.

With that said, here are my goals for the next 6 months of 2013… Don’t let me slip up!

Running Goals:

Personal Goals:

  • Complete my first semester of grad school with a 3.5 or better
  • Keep up with this blog and continue to post my weekly mileage/training schedule (this post in particular helps me evaluate whether I’m really pushing myself; knowing I slacked off and I have to tell the world about it is a really good way to make sure I don’t slack off the next week).
  • Read 75 books by the end of the year (15 read so far since May 13, 2013)
  • Go dairy-free (minus the occasional ice cream… and some cheeses)
  • Start cooking at home more and trying new recipes
  • Put more money away
  • Start painting again (...I miss my easel)
  • Be better about putting clothes away and getting laundry done in a timely manner
  • Start waking up earlier, even on days that it isn’t necessary

What are your goals for the coming months? Have anything that you really want to accomplish?

Book Review: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin, 2010

An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin, 2010

First of all, I was not expecting this type of writing from the likes of Steve Martin… yes, that Steve Martin. I was pleasantly surprised by the text as well as the story itself. My appreciation for this book mostly stems from my interest in and passion for art and art history. Jasper Johns. Matisse. de Kooning. Art of the 20th and 21st centuries are discussed throughout the entire book. As a college graduate with my B.A. in Art History, this book can officially be listed as one of my Top 10’s.

Spoilers Ahead…

Daniel Franks knew Lacey Yeager was something special the day he first spotted her in class. This was twenty years ago. It is the twenty years that come after that first meeting that are told in his first book. Lacey’s story is worth writing. Daniel (the narrating character of the novel) follows Lacey’s beginnings in the art world, her climb to the top, her dangerous missteps and tumbles, and eventually her treacherous fall.

Lacey Yeager, independent, charismatic, fierce, and unrelenting, emerges onto the New York art scene at its lowest entry point, an internship at Sotheby’s. Her low-paying job has her digging through the mailroom of the fine art auction house. While the monetary gains aren’t even worth mentioning, Lacey’s keen eye and sharp wit help advance her status among colleagues and her boss.

Daniel Franks stays friends with Lacey throughout her time in New York and is privy to her deepest secrets and flaws. Over the years, Lacey moves her way up at Sotheby’s and finds herself working in a gallery, learning the inner workings of the art market. She learns how to bend the system and break the rules, which for a while go unnoticed. She opens her own gallery, which goes through its own ups and downs, like the terrorist attacks of 9-11, and the economic troubles that followed. Lacey’s bold, fraudulent adventures eventually catch up with her.

Lacey is someone you love to hate. You want just half of her confidence, a fourth of her swagger, and none of her problems. Her troubles seem the least of her worries, if you can even tell she has them at all. At her worst, she’s still better than your best, at least as far as you can tell. She’s mysterious and deceiving. She’s beautiful and wanted. She’s unpredictable.

Steve Martin has written a book that is both fiction and non-fiction. While Daniel Franks or Lacey Yeager may not be real, the characters they represent certainly are. Martin, a devoted and passionate art collector, depicts the behind the scenes dramas of the art world. The build of the art society in the 1990s and its fall after 2001 are brilliantly portrayed. An Object of Beauty is a love story. It’s the love story between artist and art, collector and prized painting, gallery owner and sales commission. Lacey Yeager was entangled in every fiber of the art world, the greed, the want, the failures, and the distortion.

Portions of the book were slow, and yet important overall. Lacey’s story made me laugh, caused me anger, disappointed me, confused me, earned my pity, and all the while made me want to have drinks with her. I can’t say much for those who don’t know art; you may find yourself wanting to learn more, you may absolutely hate it. If I hadn’t previously studied art history, I wouldn’t have caught the subtle hints, metaphors, irony, or the art jargon. If you are, however, involved in the art world, studied art, work in art, or appreciate the works of the 20th and 21st century, read this book.

P.S. : Amy Adams is rumored to be starring (most likely as Lacey) and producing the film version of this book. Dates of release are yet to be determined.